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Live Reporting

By Louise Wilson and Craig Hutchison

All times stated are UK

  1. That's all from BBC Holyrood Live

    Father with son
    Image caption: Child contact centres provide a space in which a non-resident parent can meet their child

    That's all from BBC Scotland's Holyrood Live on Tuesday 14 January 2020.

    Sustainable funding arrangements for child contact centres are still to be agreed on, MSPs have been told.

    Relationships Scotland has warned it cannot make up a loss of £750,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

    The organisation, which runs the majority of contact centres in Scotland, will stop receiving lottery cash from the end of March.

    The Scottish government will provide interim funding between April and June while discussions continue, chief executive Stuart Valentine told the Justice Committee.

  2. Minister congratulates Showmen's Guild

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham
    Image caption: Community Safety Minister Ash Denham

    Community Safety Minister Ash Denham congratulates the Showmen's Guild and welcomes them to the gallery.

    Local fairs across Scotland can bring communities together and provide fun, the minister says.

    She says the Scottish section of the guild represents around 400 members and praises its contribution to Scottish society and its work.

  3. Difficulty in getting licenses for fairs highlighted

    Green MSP Andy Wightman

    Green MSP Andy Wightman says the opportunity for show people to continue their trade has become precarious.

    He points to difficulties in getting licenses as an example.

    I hope this debate is part of efforts to put to rest some of these issues, he states.

  4. Call for parity and equality of charges for fairs across Scotland

    Labour MSP Mary Fee proudly brandishes her " carousel of the galloper" badge.
    Image caption: Labour MSP Mary Fee proudly brandishes her "carousel of the galloper" badge.

    Labour MSP Mary Fee offers a very warm welcome to the showmen in the gallery today and praises their contribution to Scotland's society.

    Ms Fee recalls the thrill of walking into a showground and getting the sweets you could only get at the fair.

    She explains she is proudly wearing a "carousel of the galloper badge", which was given to her by a showman sitting in the gallery.

    The Labour MSP says we need to ensure fairs can still take place in every area and every community with parity and equality of charges.

  5. 'I easily blew my pocket money' at funfairs

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour

    Tory MSP Jeremy Balfour reveals he "quickly became hooked" to funfairs as a child when his parents took him to his first one on the Meadows in Edinburgh.

    "I easily blew my pocket money on the dodgems, waltzers, jets, ghost trains, hooplas and arcades."

    Mr Balfour says being a showman is "truly a family business".

    He calls for independent engineers to assess the safety of rides, with stop orders to immediately apply if a safety test is failed.

  6. SNP MSP pays warm tribute to new president of the guild

    Richard Lyle

    SNP MSP Richard Lyle says the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is over 130 years old and has a proud history.

    He welcomes a number of members, presidents and past presidents to the gallery.

    Mr Lyle says it has been a pleasure to work with the guild over the years protecting the interests of showmen.

    The SNP MSP says his member's bill is currently being drafted to "resolve a 38 year wrong regarding civic government licences", adding he hopes it will pass in the next months.

    He says the help the government has given the guild has been tremendous and goes on to pay warm tribute to Philip Harris, who has become president of the guild.

    Guild members
  7. Here's the motion...

  8. MSPs celebrate the showmen's guild


    SNP MSP Richard Lyle will now lead a member's debate celebrating the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    From its website:

    "The principal object of the Showmen’s Guild has remained the same since its inception as the Van Dweller Association: to protect the interests of its members – travelling showmen who gain their livelihoods by attending funfairs. It does this in two ways; by its code of rules for members and through the legal and constitutional processes that exist currently of the land."

  9. MSPs unanimously back the government's Gypsy/Travaller motion

    That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the joint Scottish Government and COSLA action plan, Improving the Lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers, which aims to deliver better outcomes in the key areas of accommodation, health and education, and incomes; recognises the vital role of local government to transform the life chances of Gypsy/Travellers across the country; commends the Gypsy/Traveller community for the role that it has played in developing the plan, and supports its continued involvement to shape and deliver the actions at the national and local level; welcomes the contribution that Gypsy/Traveller communities have made to Scottish history and continue to make to its culture and heritage, and agrees to actively challenge any form of prejudice or discrimination towards Gypsy/Travellers and work together within a human rights framework to accelerate improvements for this community.

    MSPs unanimously back the government's motion on improving the lives of Gypsy/Travellers.

  10. Background: Action plan to tackle Gypsy/Traveller discrimination

    Local authorities will use £2m of the funding to improve accommodation and sites
    Image caption: Local authorities will use £2m of the funding to improve accommodation and sites

    A £3m action plan to tackle the discrimination and challenges faced by the Gypsy/Traveller community has been launched.

    The plan, co-produced with local government body Cosla, will support a number of initiatives.

    Local authorities will use £2m of the funding to improve accommodation and sites.

    The remaining funding will go towards third sector children's education projects and health and social care.

    A report published in 2018 found a failure by some local authorities to provide sites for travelling people which meet government standards.

    Read more here.

  11. Background: Crossing Divides: Housing issues facing Scotland's traveller communities

    A Scottish traveller site at Clinterty in Aberdeenshire and a street in the Govanhill area of Glasgow which houses a sizeable Roma community
    Image caption: A Scottish traveller site at Clinterty in Aberdeenshire and a street in the Govanhill area of Glasgow which houses a sizeable Roma community

    The term "traveller" encompasses different identities from across the world, but is often used homogenously.

    Travelling, in a nomadic sense, is an important part of the ethnic and cultural identity of Scotland's travelling communities - but they are not always literally "on the road".

    However, for those who choose to live in settled housing within a community, the standard of accommodation available often comes up short.

    More than one in three of sites for Scottish Gypsy/Travellers are still failing to meet minimum standards despite prior warning from the housing regulator in Scotland.

    Read more here.

  12. Lib Dem MSP cites proud history of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland

    Alex Cole-Hamilton
    Image caption: Alex Cole-Hamilton

    Alex Cole-Hamilton cites the proud history of Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland, a thousand years in the making.

    The Lib Dem MSP says we need to recognise they are stakeholders in this country and they are constituents.

    He looks forward to hearing the first Gypsy/Traveller voices in this chamber, but he fears we are still far away from that point.

    Mr Cole-Hamilton says it is incumbent on all of us to end this discrimination, going on to add people should never have to feel shame about their cultural identity.

  13. Background: What's in the action plan?

    The £3m action plan to tackle the discrimination and challenges faced by the Gypsy/Traveller community will focus on five key areas:

    • Providing more and better accommodation
    • Improving access to public services
    • Maximising household incomes
    • Tackling racism and discrimination
    • Strengthening community development and engagement
  14. Green MSP calls for continuing conversation on Gypsy/Travellers

    Green MSP John Finnie

    Green MSP John Finnie says hate crimes against Gypsy/Travellers should be treated as crimes.

    He welcomes the joint working between the Scottish government and Cosla.

    Prejudice against the nomadic lifestyle has played against the community for centuries, he says.

    Mr Finnie says we must continue to talk about the issues, encourage councillors to make positive decisions and introduce more initiatives like the health card.

  15. Background: Port William caravan park's 'no travellers' rule removed

    The rule was published on a website and leaflets at the caravan park
    Image caption: The rule was published on a website and leaflets at the caravan park

    Last February we reported that a "no travellers" rule had been removed from a caravan park after an equality body intervened.

    It appeared on the website and leaflets at the Kings Green Caravan Park in Port William, Dumfries and Galloway.

    It was reported to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) by David Donaldson, a Scottish traveller activist in December 2018.

    Site operators Port William Community Association were contacted and immediately agreed to remove the rule.

    Read more here.

  16. Discrimination by local government and communities

    Ms Fee cites bullying and discrimination within the education system, calling on it to be welcoming to all our children.

    She says the discrimination can come from local government or local communities.

    The sites provided have poor conditions, without heating and with limited or very poor accessibility, the Labour MSP adds.

    The role of the media using "words of intolerance" is also highlighted by the Labour MSP, who says if we do not speak out against this demonising language we are complicit.

  17. Labour MSP praises Scottish government action

    Labour MSP Mary Fee

    Labour MSP Mary Fee praises the Scottish government for tabling the motion today, saying it gives an opportunity to address long-standing discrimination facing the Gypsy/Traveller community.

    She welcomes the action plan and funding pledge, adding it is MSPs' collective responsibility to ensure racism in all its forms is not tolerated.

    Despite some progress being made between 2010 and 2016, there are still some shocking attitudes demonstrated in the social attitudes survey she says.

    Ms Fee goes on to highlight health inequalities faced by Gypsy/Travellers, from higher rates of infant mortality and maternal deaths, to higher likely of mental health issues.

  18. Background: A warning for local authorities

    Image caption Eleven out of 27 mainly council-run parks needed to improve things like safety, facilities and security
    Image caption: Image caption Eleven out of 27 mainly council-run parks needed to improve things like safety, facilities and security

    In 2018 the Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) warned local authorities they must get Gypsy/Traveller sites up to scratch or face formal intervention.

    Eleven out of 27 mainly council-run sites had yet to improve on areas such as safety, facilities and security.

    SHR said travellers had a "fundamental right to live in safe and secure homes, in communities where their cultures and traditions are respected".

    "It's a huge concern to SHR that all sites did not meet the site standards by the deadline of June 2018," a statement added.

  19. 'Flexible education alternatives' must be provided

    Ms Wells welcomes the joint action plan's approach to deliver joined up services.

    The Tory MSP points out half of Gypsy/Travellers aged 16 and over had no qualifications.

    "Clearly we need to do more to provide this community with flexible education alternatives."

    She also says there is evidence minimum standards have not been achieved at sites and she welcomes the review of housing in the action plan.

    The Tory MSP points out better data will highlight what action is required.